N4WDA submits comments on the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (BSDPS) of the Greater Sage-Grouse
As we have stated in our earlier articles, the listing by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) of the Greater Sage-Grouse as a “Threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) represents an enormous threat to access to the Public Lands. The listing and subsequent designation as Critical Habitat affects public lands in ten western states totaling 47 million acres. In Nevada, approximately 17 million acres are to be designated. We expect, in the best case that this listing and designation will cause seasonal closures of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) lands during the mating season, the worst case could result in permanent closures of this Critical Habitat. We expect that the Western Watershed Project (greens) will not be content with the listing as Threatened, but will continue to their goal of listing as an Endangered species which certainly would close this Critical Habitat permanently. While the Critical Habitat designation only affects Public Lands and not private property, ranching, mineral exploration, alternative energy development and many other uses will be affected, both on public and private lands. The economic impact of this listing and designation is far-reaching and has not been comprehensively studied. The joint BLM/USFS planning document for the management of these Nevada public lands is called the Draft Nevada and Northeastern California Subregional Greater Sage-Grouse Land Use Plan Amendment and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DLUP/DEIS). In Western Nevada, the FWS set aside a portion of the California and Nevada Greater Sage-Grouse population and habitat affecting five Nevada counties and three California counties, designating it as the Bi-State Distinct Population of the Greater Sage-Grouse (DPS). The DPS identifies 1.8 million acres as Critical Habitat. The area runs from just south of Gardnerville and Dayton, NV in the Pine Nut Mountains, through the Sweetwater Mountains south of Wellington all the way to the White Mountains southeast of Bishop, California. The final date to comment to the FWS on the listing and designation for the DPS is December 27, 2013. The final date to comment on the joint BLM/USFS DEIS for the DPS which identifies the management of the public lands with regard to the FWS listing is January 25, 2014. The final date to comment on the Nevada and Northeastern Nevada DLUP/EIS is January 29, 2014. If you are interested in learning more and/or commenting on either the DPS or the BLM/USFS EIS, the following links will take you there.
- For the FWS listing of the Bi-State DPS as a Threatened Species in the Federal Register: http://www.regulations.gov In the Search box, enter FWS-R8-ES-2013-0072.
- For the FWS listing of the Bi-State DPS Critical Habitat in the Federal Register: http://www.regulations.gov In the Search box, enter FWS-R8-ES-2013-0042.
- For the joint BLM/USFS Bi-State DPS DEIS: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project+40683
- For the Nevada and Northeastern California DLUP/DEIS: http://on.doi.gov/14ZD3Rb